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Full text of "The Goethe gallery : from the original drawings of Wilhelm von Kaulbach ; with explanatory text [by Rebecca Warren Brown]"

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Goethe and the Muse 7 

Lotte ........ The Sorrows of Werther . . 11 

Lili Lilt's Park 15 

Iphigenia ........ Iphigenia in Tauris . . . 19 

Gretchen Faust 23 

Gretchen (Mater Dolorosa) .... Faust 25 

Helena Faust (Part //.) . . . .27 

Dorothea and the Emigrants .... Hermann and Dorothea . . 29 

Hermann and Dorothea ..... Hermann and Dorothea . =33 

Adelheid ........ G'otz von Berlichingcn . . 35 

Leonora . . . . . . . . Torquato Tasso . > . -39 

Clarchen ........ Egmont ..... 43 

Ottilie ......... Elective Affinities . . . -47 

Eckart the Trusty Eckart the Trusty ... 49 

Mignon Wilhelm Meister . . . -53 

Eugeni,e The Natural Daughter . . 57 

The Wild Rose Heidenroeslein . . . -59 

Dora ......... Dora and Alexis . . . 61 

Frederika 63 

Goethe in Frankfort 65 

Goethe in Weimar 69 


OETHE, in his poem " Zueignung," describes his interview with the Goddess 
of Poetry on the top of a mountain, at early dawn. 

The morning came : its footsteps scared away 

The gentle sleep that hovered lightly o'er me. 
I left my quiet cot to greet the day, 

And gayly climbed the mountain-side before me. 
The sweet young flowers, how fresh they were, and tender, 

Brimful with dew upon the sparkling lea ! 
The young day opened in exulting splendor, 

And all around seemed glad to gladden me. 

And, as I mounted o'er the meadow-ground, 

A white and filmy essence 'gan to hover : 
It sailed and shifted till it hemmed me round ; 

Then rose above my head, and floated over. 
No more I saw the beauteous scene unfolded ; 

It lay beneath a melancholy shroud : 
And soon was I, as if in vapor moulded, 

Alone, within the twilight of the cloud. 

At once, as though the sun were struggling through" 

Within the mist a sudden radiance started : 
Here sank the vapor, but to rise anew ; 

There, on the peak and upland forest, parted. 
Oh, how I panted for the first clear gleaming 

Made by the gloom it banished doubly bright ! 
It came not, but a glory round me beaming ; 

And I stood blinded by the gush of light. 

Goethe and the Muse. 9 

A moment, and I felt enforced to look,. 

By some strange impulse of the heart's emotion. 
There, in the glorious clouds that seemed to bear her, 

A form angelic hovered in the air : 
Ne'er did my eyes behold a vision fairer; 

And still she gazed upon me, floating there. 

The poet sank on his knees, overpowered by this vision. 

Straightway she stretched her hand among the thin 

And watery haze that round her presence hovered : 
Slowly it wilted, and shrank her grasp within ; 

And, lo ! the landscape once more lay uncovered : 
Again mine eye could scan the sparkling meadow. 

I looked to heaven, and all was clear and bright : 
I saw her hold a veil without a shadow, 

That undulated round her in the light. 

The Goddess of Poetry endeavors to inspire Goethe with confidence in his own powers, 
and bestows upon him her gift, " the veil of song." 

" I know thee : all thy weakness, all that yet 

Of good within thee lives and glows, I've measured." 
She said (her voice I never may forget), 

"Accept the gift that long for thee was treasured. 
Oh ! happy he, thrice blest in earth and heaven, 

Who takes this gift with soul serene and true, — 
The veil of song, by Truth's own fingers given, 

Inwoven of sunshine and the morning dew." 


N the latter part of the year 1773 Goethe wrote "The Sorrows of Werther," 
of which Lotte is the heroine. This novel is so bound up with the life 
of its author, that his history at this epoch is the record of the materials 
from which it was created. It was a period of deep unrest in Europe, — 
the travail of the French Revolution. 

In Germany the spirit of the revolution issued from the study and the lecture-hall. 
Authority was everywhere attacked, because everywhere it had shown itself feeble or 
treacherous. It was a sceptical era, in which every thing established came into ques- 
tion. "The Sorrows of Werther" was the expression of the temper of the times. 

The original of Lotte, the heroine, was Charlotte Buff, who, although only sixteen, 
was betrothed to Kestner, secretary to the Hanoverian legation. Kestner was a quiet, 
cultivated man, possessing a magnanimity and dignity which are not represented in the 
Albert of the novel. Charlotte (or Lotte) Buff was not the sentimental girl described by 
Werther, but a serene, joyous, open-hearted German maiden. Her mother had died 
two years before, and the care of the house and children devolved upon her. 

Kestner, her fiance, speaks of her in a letter to a friend as " not strictly a brilliant 
beauty ; but she is, notwithstanding, the fascinating maiden who might have hosts of 
admirers. But she knows how to convince them quickly that their only safety must be 
sought in flight or in friendship." 

Goethe was a constant visitor at Lotte's house ; and here his arrival was a jubilee to 
the children, who seized hold of him, and forced him to tell them stories. 

Another character in "Werther" is taken from a youth named Jerusalem, who was a 
friend of Kestner and of Goethe. He was of a melancholy disposition, and often defend- 
ed suicide on speculative grounds. 

The laxity of German morals had sentimentalism, in place of the French luxurious- 
ness, for its basis. The effect of " Werther " on the minds of its readers varied. There 
were cases of suicide which were attributed to the effect of that romance. Where these 

Lotte. 1 3 

came to Goethe's knowledge, he was greatly grieved ; but he felt, that, if the work were 
one of the many causes which prompted any individual to that fatal act, it had also been 
the cause of saving others. In a letter to Kestner, who had written to him reproach- 
fully for placing himself and Lotte in a false light by founding his romance upon 
real history, and yet combining in it so much that was not truthful to that history, 
Goethe replied, " Could you feel the thousandth part of what 'Werther' is to a thousand 
hearts, you would not reckon the sacrifice you have made towards it. I would not, to 
save my own life, call back ' Werther.' I promise you, in the most affectionate and fer- 
vent manner, within a year to disperse, as if it were a north-wind fog and mist, whatever 
may remain of misinterpretation in the gossiping public. ' Werther ' must — must be ! " 

Men of all classes were moved by this work. During Goethe's interview with Napo- 
leon in 1808, when the former was sixty years of age, the conversation turned on "The 
Sorrows of Werther." Napoleon had read it seven times, and had taken it with him 
to Egypt. The romance penetrated into China, and Charlotte and Werther were mod- 
elled in porcelain. 

" That nameless unrest," says Carlyle, " that high, sad, longing discontent, which was 
agitating every bosom, had a voice in Goethe. With the creative gift which belonged to 
him as a poet he made himself the spokesman of his generation." 

Kaulbach has given us the picture of Lotte as seen by Werther on the evening 
when he first met her at her own house. There was to be a little dance in the country ; 
and it was agreed that Werther should take a carriage, and, with his partner and her 
aunt, should call upon Charlotte, and take her to the ball. 

When they reached the house, a maid requested them to wait a moment for her 
mistress. Werther was conducted up stairs ; and, as he entered the apartment, he saw 
" six children, the eldest of whom was but eleven years old, all jumping round a young 
woman, very elegantly shaped, and dressed in a plain white gown with pink ribbons. 
She had a brown loaf in her hand, and was cutting slices of bread and butter, which she 
distributed in a graceful and affectionate manner to the children. ' I beg pardon,' she 
said, ' for having given you the trouble to come up, and am sorry to make the ladies 
wait ; but dressing and some family business made me forget to give my children their 
little meal, and they are unwilling to receive it from any one else.' " 


ILI'S PARK" was written in 1775, at the time when Goethe was in love 
with Anna Elizabeth Schonemann, immortalized as Lili, the daughter of a 
great banker in Frankfort, who lived in the splendid style of merchant- 
princes. She was then only sixteen, graceful and charming, but was con- 
fessedly a coquette. She frankly told Goethe that she had been wont to amuse herself 
with making captives without caring for them, and meant to play the same game with 
him ; and the Frankfort fair supplied her admirer with abundant proof that what Lili had 
told of her coquetry was true. 

The conception of the little poem " Lili's Park or Menagerie " is singularly happy. 
Lili is represented, basket in hand, feeding her four-footed and feathered favorites, 
amongst whom the author figures as a bear, manifesting his presence by an occasional 
whine or suppressed growl. When she has distributed the contents of her basket, he 
draws near, crouching. She places her pretty foot upon his neck with a caressing action : 
he leans his head against her knee ; and, in days of favor, she rubs his lips with a drop 
or two of an intoxicating balsam sweeter than any honey. This entrances him ; but on 
the instant she is gone. More than once she leaves the door of his den half open, and 
waits mockingly to see if he will escape. He vows to fly, adjures the gods to aid him, 
stretches his limbs for the decisive effort, and hugs his chain. Goethe, at this period, 
bore the sobriquet of " Bear " among his friends, on account of his wild disdain of 

There's no menagerie, I trow, 
So varied as my Lili's now : 
The strangest beasts she keeps therein, — 
Heaven knows how she procured them all ! — 
The wild, the tame, the thick, the thin, 
The great, the middling, and the small. 

Lilt. 1 7 

Oh, how they strut, and swagger madly, 
And flap their close-clipped wings in vain ! 
Poor princes ! metamorphosed sadly, 
And doomed to love's eternal pain. 

Who is the fairy? who the Circe? 

Is it Lili? Ask not me, 

But be thankful for the mercy 

If she is not known to thee. 

What a gabbling ! what a squeaking ! 

At the door she takes her stand, 

With her basket in her hand. 

Then the herd comes, wildly shrieking : 

Trees and bushes, they are bending 

With the weight of songsters sweet. 

Such devotion ! 'tis amazing ! 

Saw ye ever such a rout? 

E'en the fishes in the basin 

Bob their stupid noses out ! 

Then her daily dole she scatters 

With a look that might insnare 

Jove or Hermes, were they there. 

And what has this enchantress done? 
A great wild bear, unlicked and rude, 
She lured from out his native wood, 
And made him more in unison 
With other beasts that tamer be, 
(Up to a certain point, d'ye see?) 
For slightly savage still was he." 


HE artist has here represented that scene in the third act of Goethe's won- 
derful poem, " Iphigenia in Tauris," in which the priestess of Diana 
endeavors to allay the agony of her Fury-haunted brother by disclosing 
that she is his sister, the Iphigenia whom he has mourned as dead. 

Orestes. Thy presence, maiden, can but chase aside 
The direful brood, not banish them forever : 
They venture not with impious brazen foot 
To tread the hallowed ground of this thy grove ; 
Yet at a distance here and there I hear 
Their hellish laughter terrible. 

Iphigenia. Oh, let the breath of pure affection cool 
Thy bosom's raging fire ! 

Orestes. And who art thou, whose voice thus fearfully 
Stirreth my bosom in its inmost depths? 

Iphigenia. The voice within thine inmost heart declares it : 
Orestes, it is I, — Iphigenia ! 
I live ! 

Orestes. Thou ! 

Iphigenia. My brother ! 

Orestes. Stand back ! Begone ! 

I tell thee, touch not these accursed locks ! 
As from Creusa's bridal robe, a flame 
Of inextinguishable fire proceeds 
From me. 

Iphigenia. Peace, brother ! Know thy sister, found again ! 
She is here, — 
Thy long -lost sister. From before the altar 
The goddess snatched, kindly saving me ; 
To her own sanctuary hither brought. 


Iphigenia. 2 1 

Thou art a prisoner, to the altar doomed, 
And findest in the priestess thine own sister. 

Orestes. Well, priestess, I will follow to the altar; 
For fratricide is our ancestral custom, 
From age to age descended. Rise up, reluctant ghost ! 
With serried front advance on me, ye Furies ! 
The loving sister to this cursed deed 
Is forced. Weep not : the guilt rests not on thee. 
Nought have I cherished from my earliest years 
As I could cherish thee, dear sister, now. 
Ay, swing the steel ; spare not the stroke ; 
Tear now this bosom, and let flow 
The seething streams of fury there enclosed ! 

\He sinks exhausted. 


jRETCHEN, or Margaret, is the heroine of Goethe's " Faust." 

It was at Strasburg, in 1 77 1 , that the poet conceived the idea of fusing 
his personal experience into the mould of the old Faust legend. As early 
as the year 1774 we find him reading the first scenes of this poem to 
Klopstock, during the visit of the latter to Frankfort. From that period it was resumed 
at intervals till the year 1790, when it appeared before the public in the form of "A 
Fragment." This fragment Schiller likened to the torso of Hercules, " manifesting a 
vigor and exuberance which betrayed unmistakably the hand of the great master." 

It was not until the year 1806, after the poem had been brooded over in the poet's 

mind for upwards of thirty years, that the first part of "Faust" was published in its 

present form. Its popularity has been almost unexampled. It appeals to all minds with 

irresistible fascination. Those who are striving to solve the solemn riddles of life regard 

, " Faust " as a masterpiece. 

Kaulbach represents Gretchen as just entering the church, instead of returning from 
it, as the poem describes her, when Faust sees her for the first time, and stands enrap- 
tured at the vision of beauty and innocence. 

Faust thus paints her to Mephistopheles : — 

" By Heaven, the girl is wondrous fair ! 
Of all I've seen, beyond compare : 
So sweetly" virtuous and pure ; 
And yet a little pert, be sure ! 
The lip so red, the cheek's clear dawn, 
I'll not forget while the world rolls on. 
How she cast down her timid eyes, 
Deep in my heart imprinted lies : 
How short and sharp of speech was she ! 
Why, 'twas a real ecstasy ! " 
2 3 

GRETCHEN (mater dolorosa). 

EFORE Michel Angelo's group of the " Pieta " Margaret bows clown in 
agony of remorse, and calls upon the Virgin, the Mother of Sorrows, for 

" Incline, O Maiden, 
Thou sorrow-laden, 

Thy gracious countenance upon my pain ! 
The sword Thy heart in, 
With anguish smarting, 

Thou lookest up to where Thy Son is slain. 
Thou .seest the Father : 
Thy sad sighs gather, 
And bear aloft Thy sorrow and His pain ! 

Ah, past guessing, 

Beyond expressing, 

The pangs that wring my flesh and bone ! 

Why this anxious heart so burnetii, 

Why it trembleth, why it yearneth, 

Knowest Thou, and Thou alone. 

Where'er I go, what sorrow, 

What woe, what woe and sorrow, 

Within my bosom aches ! 

Alone, and, ah ! unsleeping, 

I'm weeping, weeping, weeping : 

The heart within me breaks. 

Help ! rescue me from death and stain ! 
O Maiden, 
Thou sorrow-laden, 

Incline Thy countenance upon my pain ! " 



ELENA is the heroine of the second part of " Faust." The third act is 
known in Germany as " The Helena," and it was originally published as a 
separate poem. 

" This interlude is another allegory, complete in itself, and only lightly 
attached to the course of the drama. While it exhibits in the latter connection the 
aesthetic purification of Faust's nature, its leading motive is the reconciliation of the 
Classic and Romantic elements in art and literature. Euphorion, the child of Faust and 
Helena, who vanishes in flame, leaving only his garments and lyre behind him, is there 
presented to us as Byron ; and the act closes with a transmigration of ' the fair humanities 
of old religion ' into the spirit and sentiment of modern poetry." 

Kaulbach has depicted Helena embracing Faust, while Euphorion, with the lyre, is 
springing upward. Phorkyas (Mephistopheles) leers from the background. 

Within these caverns, in the grottos and the arbors, 

Screen and shelter have been lent, as unto twain idyllic lovers, 

To our lord and to our lady. 

As I look, a boy is leaping from the mother's lap to father's, 
From the father to the mother : the caressing and the dandling, 
Teasing pranks of silly fondness, cry of sport, and shout of rapture, 
They alternate deafen me. 

He, a genius, naked, wingless, like a faun without the beasthood, 
Leaps upon the solid pavement ; yet the pavement, now re-acting, 
Sends him flying high in air, and, at the second bound or third, he 
Seems to graze the vaulted roof. 

Cries, disquieted, the mother : " Leap repeatedly at pleasure : 
But beware of flying ! for prohibited is flight to thee." 
And thus warns the faithful father : " Dwells in earth the force elastic 
Which thee upwards thus impelled)? touch but with thy toe the surface, 
Like the son of Earth, Antaeus, straightway art thou strong again." 



OROTHEA AND THE EMIGRANTS" is a scene taken by Kaulbach from 
the most perfect of Goethe's poems, " Hermann and Dorothea." 

The epoch is that of the French Revolution. The scene is laid in a 
small town on the right bank of the Rhine. A body of refugees from 
the left bank, flying from the French republicans, are passing near the town, on their 
way to the interior. Every one is crowding to see the sad procession of emigrants 
passing through the streets of a quiet little village in the dusty heat of the noonday. 

Hermann, the son of the wealthy landlord of the Golden Lion, is sent by his 
parents with a bundle of clothing -and some food for the exiles. He overtakes a wagon 
drawn by two stout oxen driven by Dorothea, and thus describes the meeting : — 

" When to the new road I came, a wagon I saw of stout timber, 
Drawn by two oxen of outlandish breed of the finest and strongest ; 
But at their side was walking with vigorous footsteps a maiden, 
Who, with a staff in her hand, was guiding the powerful creatures, 
Urging them on, or restraining : skilful was she as a driver. 
But, when the maiden espied me, she quietly drew near my horses, 
And thus addressed me : ' Not always so laden with sorrow have we been 
As on this day on the highway you see us ; nor have I thus been 
Wont of the stranger to ask for a favor he often refuses, 
Often unwillingly gives, and gives to get rid of the asker. 
Yet does necessity urge me to speak : for unhappily here lies 
Now, but lately confined, the wife of our wealthy possessor. 
Scarcely it lay in my power to carry her off in this wagon : 
Slow do we follow the rest, and I fear me her life is not safe yet. 
Naked the new-born babe now lies in her bosom infolded. 
If you belong to this neighborhood, could you procure for us linen, 
Even the worn-out and cast-off ? If so, pray give it the needy.' 
Thus did she speak ; when, languidly raising herself on the straw couch, 


Dorothea and the Emigrants. 31 

Turned the new mother her pale face towards me. I answered them straightly, 

' Surely the thoughts of the good are sometimes suggested by angels, 

So that they're led to provide for the wants of the needy they know not. 

Thus did my mother, in forethought of sorrows which now do afflict you, 

Give me a bundle of garments from which I might cover the naked.' 

Joyfully then did she thank me, and said, ' The wealthy believe not 

In the existence of miracles now ; but in trouble perceive we 

God's hand and finger still guiding good men unto merciful doings.' " 

Having intrusted the remainder of his provisions and clothing to Dorothea to be 
distributed among her fellow-sufferers, Hermann drives back "so thoughtful . and pensive, 
and so prone to seclusion," that his mother, with true feminine instinct, divines his state 
of feeling, and, on his declaring that he could never be happy without Dorothea, under- 
takes to plead his cause with his father. 

The father, bent on a rich marriage for his son, is angry and unreasonable at the 
threatened disappointment of his hopes : but the mother is supported by two steady 
frequenters of the house, — the parson and the apothecary ; and at length it is agreed 
that these two shall accompany Hermann to the place where Dorothea is living, and 
report upon the fitness of his choice. What they hear of Dorothea is more than enough 
to exalt her into a heroine. She combines courage, and presence of mind, with every 
feminine quality desirable in a wife. 


ERMANN, having obtained the consent of his father and mother to bring 
home Dorothea as his bride, seeks her, and urges her to find a shelter 
under his father's roof. 

Unluckily, Dorothea is still in mourning for a betrothed, and wears 
a ring-, the token of the tie. This embarrasses Hermann to such an extent, that, 
when he is beginning to explain his intentions, she fancies he wishes her to become 
his parents' hand-maiden, and diffidence prevents him from undeceiving her. Thinking 
she cannot do better, under the circumstances, she at once expresses her willingness to 
accompany him to his mother's house in that capacity. The consequence is, that when 
the party return, and the parents, on the report of their friends, are prepared to 
receive her as a daughter-in-law, they are all at cross-purposes till an explanation is 
brought about ; when Dorothea confesses to a reciprocal interest in Hermann from their 
first meeting. Their marriage soon follows this mutual disclosure. 

As Dorothea approaches Hermann's home, she asks how she shall henceforth treat 

"Thee, the only son, and hereafter to rule as my master?" 

Hermann replied, as he grasped the hand of the maiden, — 

"Let thine own heart be the prompter, and follow its impulse in all things." 
Further he ventured to speak not, much as the time was propitious, 
Fearing to hasten a No. 

Over the cornfields they pursue their way through the luxuriant grain, enjoying 
the brightness of evening, until they enter into the shadow of the vineyard, where, not 
knowing the path, her foot slips ; and she would have fallen, had not Hermann's 
outstretched arm upheld her. Thus they remain for one brief moment, the lover merely 
supporting her, and not daring to press her fondly to him. It is this moment that 
Kaulbach has chosen for his picture. 



DELHEID is the heroine of Goethe's historical drama, " Gotz von Berlich- 

ingen," which appeared in 1773. 

Gotz von Berlichingen was a German noble who lived in the sixteenth 

century, during the reign of Maximilian the First. He was a zealous 
champion for the privileges of the free knights, and was repeatedly laid under the ban 
of the empire for the feuds in which he was engaged, from which he was only released 
in consequence of high reputation for gallantry and generosity. With his fellow-barons 
he waged continual war. Against the Bishop of Bamberg especially, he was frequently 
in arms. The persecuted looked for protection to his strong arm, as he was always 
found on the side of the weak. 

This bold, chivalrous robber, struggling single-handed against the advancing power 
of civilization, was a tempting subject for a poet of the eighteenth century. The effect 
of the drama on the public was instantaneous and startling. " Its bold expression of the 
spirit of freedom, its defiance of French criticism, and the originality, no less than 
the power, of the writing, carried it triumphant over Germany. It was pronounced a 
masterpiece in all the salons and in all the beer-houses of that uneasy time. Imitations 
followed with amazing rapidity ; the stage was noisy with the clang of chivalry ; and the 
book-shelves creaked beneath the weight of resuscitated feudal times." 

In the drama, Adelheid, a fascinating and unscrupulous beauty, is plotting the 
destruction of Gotz through his friend Adelbert von Weislingen. The artist has illus- 
trated the scene in which the heroine is engaged in a game of chess with the Bishop of 
Bamberg. Franz, the lovesick squire, and the Abbot of Fulda, " the wine-butt," look on. 
While the old bishop is apparently absorbed in the game, Liebtraut, the minstrel, is 
playing on the lute, and singing the words thus translated by Sir Walter Scott : — 

Armed with quiver and bow, 
With his torch all aglow, 


Adelheid. 3 7 

Young Cupid comes winging his flight; 

Courage glows in his eyes 

As adown from the skies 

He rushes, impatient for flight. 

Up, up ! 
Hark, the bright quiver rings ! 
Hark, the rustle of wings ! 
All hail to the delicate sprite ! 

They welcome the urchin. 
Ah, maidens, beware ! 
He finds every bosom 
Unguarded and bare. 
In the light of his flambeau 
He kindles his darts : 
They fondle and hug him, 
And press to their hearts. 

Adelheid to the Bishop. Your thoughts are not in your game. 

Check to the king ! 
Bishop Bamberg. There is still a way of escape. 
Adelheid. You will not be able to hold out long. 

Check to the king ! 
Liebtraut. Were I a great prince, I would not play this game, and would 

forbid it at court and throughout the whole land. 
Adelheid. 'Tis indeed a touchstone of the brain. 
Checkmate ! 


jOETHE'S dramatic poem, " Torquato Tasso," keeps very close to history. 
There is a little difficulty in introducing the poet Tasso amongst the person- 
ages of a drama. We cannot dissociate his name from the remembrance 
of the works he has written and the heroes whom he has celebrated. The 

poet brought into the ranks of the dramatis personal the creator of fictions converted 
himself into a fictitious personage ! There seems some strange confusion in it. But in 
this drama we become quite reconciled to the new position in which the poet of the 
Holy Sepulchre is placed. The characters are historical portraits, — Alphonso, Duke of 
Ferrara ; Leonora d' Este, sister of the Duke ; Leonora Sanvitale, Countess of Scandiano ; 
Torquato Tasso ; Antonio Montecatino, secretary of state. 

In his twenty-second year Tasso arrived at the brilliant court of Ferrara, at the time 
when the nuptials of the duke with the emperor's sister were being celebrated with 
unrivalled splendor. At the conclusion of these festivities he was presented by the 
Princess Lucretia to her sister Leonora, who was destined to exert such a powerful influ- 
ence over his future life. He became the honored and cherished inmate of Belriguardo, 
the palace, where the dukes of Ferrara were accustomed to retire with their most favored 
courtiers, and where, under the inspiring influences of love, beauty, and court-favor, he 
completed his " Gerusalemme Liberata." 

Alphonso II. was a liberal patron of the arts. The Princess Leonora d' Este and her 
sister Lucretia, the daughters of Renee of France, inherited from their mother her mental 
superiority, and were celebrated for learning as well as beauty. Leonora, Countess of 
Scandiano, graced the court of Ferrara at this time ; and Tasso addressed to her some 
of his most beautiful sonnets. His sentiment for her was poetical, and not the genuine, 
deep, and constant, but hopeless, affection which he entertained for Leonora d' Este. 

Kaulbach illustrates that portion of the drama- in which Tasso first meets Leonora 


Leonora. 41 

after her illness. The scene is a garden, adorned with busts of epic poets. The two 
ladies, Princess Leonora d' Este and Leonora Sanvitale, are discoursing of poetry and poets. 
The princess crowns the bust of Virgil with flowers, Leonora that of Ariosto with laurel. 
The conversation turns on Tasso, for whom both profess the highest admiration and 
regard. They are engaged in playful raillery as to which of them his verses to Leonora 
are addressed, when they are joined by the duke. 

Soon afterwards Tasso appears, bearing a volume bound in parchment, — the manu- 
script of his great poem, — which he presents to the duke, as belonging to him in every 
sense. All join in praise and congratulations ; and the princess, at a sign from her 
brother, takes the laurel crown from the bust of Virgil, and places it on the head of 
Tasso, who kneels to receive it. This scene is one of intoxicating delight to the poet. 
But he is no sooner crowned than he entreats that the wreath should be removed. It 

weighs on him ; it is a burden, a pressure ; it sinks and abashes him. 


" Take it away ! 
Oh, take, ye gods, this glory from my brow ! 
Hide it again in clouds ! Bear it aloft 
To heights all unattainable, that still 
My whole of life for this great recompense 
Be one eternal course ! " 

Tasso attributes to Leonora's inspiration all that within himself is worthy of fame. 

" Whatever in my song doth reach the heart, 
And find an echo there, I owe to one, 
And one alone. No image undefined 
Hovered before my soul, approaching now 
In radiant glory, to retire again. 
I have myself, with mine own eyes, beheld 
The type of every virtue, every grace. 
What I have copied thence will aye endure. 
These are not shadows by illusion bred : 
I know they are eternal ; for they are." 


N Schiller's critique upon the tragedy of " Egmont," the historian of the 
fall of the Netherlands does ample justice to Goethe's admirable delinea- 
tion of the age and country in which the drama is laid. " The characters 
of the drama," says Schiller, " are delineated with a few masterly strokes. 
The Duke of Alva is a firm, rigid, inaccessible character. The subtle, taciturn Orange, 
with comprehensive and all-combining mind, is depicted in a single scene. . . . The few 
scenes in which the citizens of Brussels are introduced appear to us to be the result of 
profound study ; and it would be difficult to find in so few words a more admirable 
historical monument of the Netherlands of the sixteenth century." 

Count Egmont, as the commander of the cavalry at the battles of St. Quentin 
and Gravelines, rendered signal aid to Philip II. These two splendid victories gave 
Egmont great renown and popularity. He afterwards became closely associated with 
William of Orange. 

The Prince of Orange warns Egmont that they are both of them marked men ; 
that, if they wait Alva's arrival in the country, they are lost. But Egmont is equally 
deaf to the warnings and entreaties of his friend. Clara, the heroine of Goethe's tragedy, 
is the daughter of a citizen, and the betrothed of Egmont. 

In the third act she sends to inquire the meaning of a disturbance in the street, and 
exclaims, — 

" Have you not noticed how often I go to the window ? how I listen to every noise at the door ? Though 
I know that he will not come before night, yet, from the time when I rise in the morning, I keep expecting him 
every moment. Were I but a page to follow hiin always to court ! Could I but carry his colors to the field ! " 

The street tumult is appeased by Egmont, who promises the populace that all their 
wrongs shall be redressed if they remain quiet. Egmont is summoned to a conference 


Cldrchen. 45 

with Alva, who, after making the requisite preparations Tor his arrest, stands anxiously 
watching for his arrival, and, perceiving his approach, exclaims, — 

" Tis he ! — Egmont ! Did the steed bear thee hither so lightly, and started not at the scent of blood, and 
at the spirit of the naked sword which receives thee at the gate ? Dismount ! So art thou now with one foot in 
the grave! and — so with both!" 

On hearing of Egmont's arrest and inevitable doom, Clara rushes wildly into the 
market-place, and passionately appeals to the people to rise and rescue him. 

Clara. Hark ye, friends, neighbors ! We must not waste a moment ! The reckless tyranny that dares to 
fetter him already draws the dagger for his murder. O my friends ! I fear this night. Come, let us divide ; let 
us run quickly from quarter to quarter, and call the citizens. How can a handful of slaves withstand us? 

Citizen. Name not the name ! 'tis deadly. 

Clara. Not name his name ! How, not Egmont's name ! Where does it not stand written ? In the stars 
I often read it. Not name it ! What means this ? Friends, good, dear neighbors, you dream : bethink yourselves. 
Nay, bend not those fixed and anxious looks on me ; do not cast around those timid glances. Is not my voice 
the voice of your own hearts ? Who in this fearful night, before pressing his sleepless couch, will not throw himself 
upon his knees, and in earnest prayer intercede for him with Heaven? Let each one ask himself, and who will 
not cry with me, "Egmont's freedom, or death"? 

Citizen. God help us ! 

Clara. Stay, stay ! Do not hurry away at the sound of his name whom you once pressed forward so 
earnestly to meet ! When the cry was, " Egmont is coming ! he comes from Ghent ! " then you held up your 
children at the door-sills, and pointed him out to them: "See, that's Egmont!" "That's he!" You must hear 
me, and you will. Can you live, will you live, if he perish? With his breath flees the last aspiration of liberty. 
I have not strength like you ; but I have courage. Come, I will lead you on ! 

Citizen. Take her away ! I deeply pity her. 

Driven to despair by the hopelessness of her attempt to rescue Egmont, Clarchen 
takes poison, and dies. 


HE novel, " Elective Affinities," is a tragedy in which is represented the 
collision of passion and duty. Of this work Goethe says, " No one can 
fail to recognize in it a deep, passionate wound, which shrinks from being 
closed by healing, — a heart which dreads to be cured. ... In it, as in a 
burial-urn, I have deposited with deep emotion many a sad experience. The 3d of 
October, 1809, when its publication was completed, set me free from the work ; but the 
feelings it embodies can never quite depart from me." 

Ottilie is the adopted daughter of Charlotte and Eduard. After she is taken from 
school to live with them, the elective affinities of their natures draw Eduard and Ottilie 
together. They love vehemently, and as thoughtlessly as two children. Eduard is 
impatient for a divorce, that he may marry Ottilie ; but Charlotte, on account of her 
child, refuses consent. 

Ottilie devotes herself with intense affection to Charlotte's child. But a tragical scene 
takes place, as, after an agitating interview with Eduard, she endeavors to cross the lake 
with the boy. She seizes the oar, and pushes off from the land. With the child on 
her left arm, the book she had been reading when interrupted by Eduard in her left 
hand, and the oar in her right, she stumbles and falls. The boat lurches, and the oar 
escapes from her grasp. While striving to regain it, child and book fall into the water. 
When she at last succeeds in rescuing the child, its eyes are closed ; it has ceased to 
breathe. The boat has drifted to the middle of the lake ; the oar is floating far away : 
no one is to be seen on shore. Alone on the water, she strives to bring back life to 
the child. It is all in vain : motionless the little one lies in her arms ; motionless the 
boat stands on the watery plain. In her agony, the remembrance of which will over- 
shadow all her future life, Ottilie resolves to uproot the love which is filling her heart. 



HE artist here illustrates Goethe's ballad, " Eckart the Trusty." 

" How dark it is growing ! I wish we were back ! 
They are coming, they're here, the hobgoblins, alack ! 

The band of the sorceress sisters ! 
See, see, where they come ! If they light on us here, 
They'll be certain to drink every drop of the beer 

It has cost us such trouble to fetch here." 

So saying, the children push on in affright ; 

When up from the heath starts a grizzly old wight : 

" Stop, stop, child ! My children, be quiet ! 
They are thirsty and hot ; for they come from the chase : 
Let them drink what they like, without squall or grimace ; 

And the grewsome ones, they will be gracious." 

And up come the goblins that moment, and they 
Look ghostlike and grewsome, and ghostly and gray; 

Yet the revel and riot is roundly. 
The beer it has vanished, the pitchers are bare ; 
Then, whooping and hooting away through the air, 

O'er hill and dale clatter the weird ones. 

Off homeward, all quaking, the children they hied ; 
And the kindly old graybeard troops on by their side. 

" Do not weep so, and whimper, my darlings." 
" They'll scold us and beat us for this." — " Never fear ! 
All yet will go famously well with the beer, 

If you'll only be mum as young mice, dears. 


Rckart the Trusty. 5 1 

" Mind you follow my bidding ; and surely you may : 
I am he who delights with small children to play : 

You know me, — Old Eckart the Trusty. 
Of that wonderful wight you've heard many a lay, 
But never had proof what he is till to-day : 

Now you hold in your hands a most rare one." 

Arrived at their home, each small child, with a face 
Of terror, his pitcher sets down in its place, 

And waits to be beaten and scolded. 
When the old folks they sip, " Oh, what excellent beer ! " 
Three, four times they take a strong pull at the cheer; 

Yet still do the pitchers brim over. 

The miracle lasted that night and next day ; 
And if you should ask, as you very well may, 

What became in the end of the pitchers, 
The little mice titter, enjoying the joke ; 
But at length, sirs, they stammered and stuttered and spoke, 

And the pitchers immediately dried up ! 

And, children, if e'er, looking kindly and true, 
An old man or father or master teach you, 

Give heed, and do all that he bids you ; 
Though to bridle your tongues it may cost you some pain, 
Yet to chatter is bad ; to be silent is gain ; 

And it makes the beer brim in the pitchers. 


IGNON, a niece of the Marquis Cipriani, was stolen from her home by a 
company of rope-dancers, from whom she was purchased by Wilhelm 
Meister. She appeared to have no distinct remembrance of her family ; but 
on her memory was imprinted a vision of a fair home in Italy, and she 
yearned to be taken thither by her adopted father and protector. 

" Know ye the land where lemon-flowers blow, 
Through the dark foliage steals the orange's glow, 
Where a soft wind plays 'neath the clear blue sky, 
Where stand the myrtle and the laurel high? 
Know ye that land? 

Thither would I 
Full fain with thee, O my protector, fly ! " 

Mignon was placed under the charge of Natalie, a lady belonging to a noble family, 
who had gathered round her a few children to educate. 

On the occasion of the birthday of two of her proteges, Natalie induced Mignon to 
take the part of an angel, and distribute presents. Mignon was dressed in a light flowing 
drapery of white, with a golden diadem and girdle, and large golden wings. She entered 
the room, carrying a lily in one hand, and a basket in the other. 

The children were at first silent with awe ; then they exclaimed, "It is Mignon ! " yet 
dared not venture quite close to the marvellous figure. 

" Here are your gifts," she said, handing the basket to the twins. All the children 
crowded round her, gazed at her, touched her, and finally asked, — 

"Art thou an angel?" 

" Would that I were ! " said Mignon. 

"Why dost thou carry a lily?" 


Mignon. 5 5 

" I should be happy if my heart were as pure and open." 

"What wings are these? Let us see them." 

" They represent far finer ones which are not yet unfolded." 

And thus she answered every innocent question with some suggestive words. 
When their curiosity began to be satisfied, she took her cithern, and, seating 
herself on a high writing-table, sang a little song with touching grace : — 

" Such let me seem till such I be ; 

Take not my snow-white dress away : 
Soon from this dusk of earth I flee 
Up to the glittering lands of day. 

There first a little space I rest, 

Then wake so glad to scenes so kind ! 
In earthly robes no longer dressed, 

This band, this girdle, left behind. 

Through little life not much I toiled ; 

Yet anguish long this heart has wrung ; 
Untimely woe my blossom spoiled : 

Make me again forever young ! " 

The kindness of her guardian and protector, Wilhelm Meister, awakened in Mignon 
a passionate attachment, under the effect of which she pined away ; and her short life 
closed before Wilhelm Meister had learned to regard her in any other light than that 
of a tender, loving child. 


UGENIE, the heroine of " The Natural Daughter," is about to be presented 
at court by her father, who is uncle to the king. Her brother, the legiti- 
mate son, has resolved on getting rid of her by carrying her stealthily and 
forcibly to the colonies, at the same time spreading the report that she has 
met with a fatal accident at a hunt. His secretary is in love with Eugenie's governess, 
whom he admits into the plot. She is forced to fall in with the nefarious plan in order 
to save the life of her loved Eugenie, who is wholly without suspicion. 

Kaulbach takes for his picture the scene where Eugenie's father has just sent her a 
casket containing the jewels she is to wear at her presentation. With girlish glee she 
opens it, and takes out the contents one by one with rapture. In her joy she exclaims 

to her companion, — 

" Irrevocable now my happiness ! " 

Her friend sadly says aside, 

" Irrevocable, alas, thy fate 



HE artist here illustrates one of Goethe's charming lyrics. These songs are 
full of life and beauty, and are, by turns, gay, tender, passionate, mournful, 
and picturesque. 

A boy espied, in morning light, 
A little rosebud blowing : 
'Twas so delicate and bright, 
That he came to feast his sight, 
And wonder at its growing. 

Rosebud, rosebud, rosebud red, 

Rosebud brightly blowing ! 

" I will gather thee," he cried, 
" Rosebud brightly blowing ! " 
" Then I'll sting thee," it replied, 
"And you'll quickly start aside, 
With the prickle glowing ! " 

Rosebud, rosebud, rosebud red, 

Rosebud brightly blowing ! 

But he plucked it from the plain, 
The rosebud brightly blowing. 
It turned and stung him, but in vain : 
He regarded not the pain, 
Homeward with it going. 

Rosebud, rosebud, rosebud red, 

Rosebud brightly blowing ! 



SCENE in the exquisite idyl of " Alexis and Dora " is here illustrated. 
Alexis has loved his neighbor Dora from childhood. Before starting on 
his first voyage, he goes to bid her farewell. She tells him, that, as he is 
going to visit foreign lands, he may buy her a necklace, which she will thank- 
fully pay for. While he stands, affecting the merchant, and asking for details of form and 
weight, his impatient shipmates call to him to hasten his departure. She kindly offers him 
some fruit from her garden — oranges and figs that she has ranged together, and covered 
with myrtle — as a parting gift. Alexis has hitherto regarded his love for Dora as 
altogether hopeless ; but her unexpected kindness unseals his lips, and passionate 
vows are exchanged. 



N 1770, Goethe, then twenty years of age, entered Strasburg University. 

His friend Weyland had often spoken to him of a clergyman, who, 
with his wife and two daughters, lived near Sesenheim, a village about 
sixteen miles from Strasburg. Early in October, Weyland proposed that 
Goethe should accompany him on a visit to Pastor Brion. 

They left their horses at an inn, and walked leisurely towards the parsonage, — an 
old and somewhat dilapidated but very picturesque farmhouse. 

Pastor Brion and his family welcomed them in a friendly manner. One of his 
daughters was Frederika, whose name is familiar to every lover of German literature. 
When Goethe first saw her she was only sixteen, and was dressed in the national 
costume, with its short, white full skirt and furbelow, a tight bodice, and black taffeta 
apron. Frederika's straw hat hung on her arm, and the beautiful braids of her fair hair 
drooped on a delicate white neck ; while merry blue eyes completed her attractions. 

Goethe's tendency to see pictures and poetry in the actual scenes of life made him 
imagine himself in the midst of the family of the Vicar' of Wakefield. Pastor Brion might 
stand for Mr. Primrose, the elder daughter for Olivia, the younger for Sophia; and when, 
at supper, a youth came into the room, Goethe involuntarily exclaimed, " What ! Moses 
too ! " 

Goethe remained at Sesenheim 'long enough to return to Strasburg as the accepted 
lover of Frederika. His gayety and poetic gifts had captivated the whole family. 

When Goethe left the university at Strasburg for his father's house at Frankfort, in 
August, 1 77 1, he felt that his attachment was a boyish love, and would not be lasting. 
He therefore wrote to Frederika, bidding her adieu ; and her answer to his letter was so 
gentle and forgiving, that it deeply touched him. 

They met once again after the lapse of years. Frederika was then happily married, 
and she affectionately welcomed him as an old friend. 



N 1773 Goethe was at his father's house in Frankfort, occupied with law. 
literature, and painting. He delighted at this time in skating as a recrea- 
tion. This is shown in an amusing anecdote related by both Goethe and 
his mother. The incident which they describe is illustrated by Kaulbach. 
Goethe says, — 

" A very inclement winter had completely covered the Main with ice, and made a solid floor of it. The 
liveliest society, both of business and pleasure, was stirring on the ice. Endless skating-paths, and wide, smoothly- 
frozen plains, swarmed with the moving multitude. I failed not to be there in the -early morning, and found 
myself, when my mother at a later hour came out to see the spectacle, actually frozen through, since I was 
lightly clad. 

" My mother sat in the carriage in her red furred velvet cloak, which, held together on her breast by a 
strong golden cord and tassel, looked quite stately. 

" ' Give me your furs, dear mother ! ' I cried out on the instant, without a moment's thought. In a moment 
I had on the cloak, of purple color, which, reaching half way below the k lees, was edged with sable, and adorned 
with gold, and contrasted not badly with the brown fur cap I wore. Thus carelessly I went up and down : the 
crowd was so great, that no especial notice was taken of my strange appearance." 

Goethe's mother related the adventure at a later period to the young Bettina : — 

" The morning was bright and frosty, when my son, Wolfgang Goethe, burst into the room where I was 
seated with some friends. 

" ' Mother,' he cried, ' you have never seen me skate, and the weather is so beautiful to-day ! ' 

" I put on my crimson fur cloak, which had a long train, and was closed in front by golden clasps, and we 
drove out. There skated my son, like an arrow, among the groups. The wind had reddened his cheeks, and 
blown the powder out of his brown hair. When he saw my crimson cloak, he came towards our carriage, and 
smiled coaxingly at me. 

"'Well,' said I, 'what do you want?' 

" ' Come, mother, you can't be cold in the carriage : give me your cloak.' 


Goethe in Frankfort 6y 

" ' You won't put it on, will you ? ' 

" ' Certainly." 

" I took it off : he put it on, threw the train . over his arm, and away he went over the ice like a son of 
the gods. O Bettina, if you could have seen him ! Any thing so beautiful is not to be seen now ! I clapped 
my hands for joy. Never shall I forget him, as he darted out from under one arch of the bridge, and in again 
under the other, the wind carrying the train behind him as he flew. Your mother, Bettina, was on the ice ; and 
all this was to please her." 


SOETHE arrived at the city of Weimar in November, 1775. He was then in 
the splendor of youth, beauty, and fame. He was received with the most 
flattering attention by all the principal personages. Eight years younger 
than the poet, Duke Karl August attached himself to him like a brother. 
On Goethe's thirtieth birthday, in 1779, recognizing his official services, the duke raised 
him to the place of Geheimerath, or privy councillor. " It is strange and dream-like," 
Goethe wrote, " that I in my thirtieth year enter the highest place which a German 
citizen can reach." 

For more than fifty years Goethe was the chosen, trusted, appreciated friend of Karl 
August ; and for ten of those years he was the chief minister of the wise young duke, 
and the virtual administrator of the ducal government, re-organizing some of the most 
important of its departments, and creating new ones. 

During his long residence at Weimar, Goethe was always the centre of attraction in 
literary and social circles. In the early part of that period, amusement went hand in 
hand with business. The court delighted in hearing the poet read or act his own 
dramas. Jean Paul wrote, " There is nothing comparable to Goethe's reading. It is like 
deep-toned thunder blended with whispering rain-drops." 

Among the various plays in which Goethe appeared as actor was his " Iphigenia." 
The poet took the character of Orestes ; Prince Constantine, that of Pylades ; Corona 
Schroter, that of Iphigenia. " Never shall I forget," exclaims a contemporary and admirer 
of Goethe, " the impression Goethe made as Orestes in his Grecian costume. One 
might have fancied him Apollo. Never before had there been such union of physical and 
intellectual beauty in one man." 

The artist has chosen the scene at the close of the representation of " Iphigenia," 
when Goethe is crowned by Duke Karl August and the beautiful Corona. 

On the left sits the dowager, Duchess Amalia, addressing the old poet Wieland. 


Goethe in Weimar. yi 

Near her is the Duchess Louise, holding the play in her hand. Next to her sits the 
Frau Von Stein, who figures so largely in Goethe's personal history ; and leaning over 
her shoulder is the bright little Amalia Kotzebue, offering her crown of roses. Herder, 
Knebel, and Merck stand behind Fraulein Imhoff, who is about to throw a basket of 
flowers. This picture of the Weimar court is completed by the servants bringing in the 
punch and cake. 


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